Federal government releases first National Early Learning and Child Care Framework in over a decade: SMALL STEP FORWARD – MUCH MORE TO DO!
After a decade with no federal leadership on child care, the release of a federal-provincial-territorial Agreement is welcome news but the political flux in BC means our province is not yet a signatory to the Agreement. All other provinces, with the exception of Quebec which already has a system, have signed.
The Agreement recognizes that provinces and territories have the primary responsibility for the design and delivery of early learning and child care systems, such as the popular $10aDay Child Care Plan for BC. While the Agreement and related federal funding commitments fall far short of the federal Liberal government’s promise ‘to deliver affordable, high-quality, flexible and fully inclusive child care for Canadian families’, families in BC don’t want a political delay in any new federal child care funding.
The Agreement requires provinces and territories to give ‘consideration for those more in need’ and to publicly report on their child care progress. Given their substantial election commitments to child care, an expected NDP/Green government in BC can use the new federal funds to promptly implement the commitments they both made to eliminate parent fees for lower-income families.
On the other hand, the BC Liberals committed only to child care status quo during the recent election, and their government’s public reports show they did not spend previous federal child care funds effectively on child care.
Sharon Gregson, spokesperson for the $10aDay Child Care Plan says, “BC families of all income levels want and need immediate action on child care and they expect the feds to work with a new provincial government to implement the $10aDay Plan without delay”. “But, the evidence is clear that targeting doesn’t work. Over the last 16 years, BC has targeted most of its minimal public spending to subsidies for low-income families, yet we still have child care chaos; too few spaces across the province, sky high fees, and poverty wages for early childhood educators.”
“We will continue to work with our partners and allies across the country to achieve federal funding support that ensures all families in Canada have access to high quality, affordable and fully inclusive child care” confirms Lynell Anderson, CPA, CGA and Family Policy Researcher. “Joint federal/provincial cost sharing makes sense as multiple economic analyses of BC’s proposed $10aDay Child Care Plan show the benefits are also shared between both levels of government.”